Thursday, October 28, 2010

Write Pink! A Tribute to Survivors {Bigger Picture Moments}


It takes more than good medicine to survive. While medicine can fix (or attempt to) what ails you, there is something deeper down inside that is required to survive, to thrive. I have experienced this first hand through volunteering on a cancer/hospice floor.
Survivors are Fighters

{Dawn, during treatment, 2006}
Dawn is a friend, we are the same age. Because we are the same age, her story, her fight has always touched me very personally. It could just as easily been me.

Dawn was 27 when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in her chest wall. Twenty Seven years old. I was pregnant with my first, she was being diagnosed with breast cancer. It seemed like some weird alternate universe. 

She was working, going to school, had no health insurance. She could have given up, given in, accepted this as fate. She didn't. She fought. She fought the cancer while family and friends helped her fight the system to get treatment.

She had three surgeries to remove it all. Chemotherapy. Radiation. She has lost her hair, been very sick, and is permanently scarred.

She is alive today and will be cancer free for five years in January.

She has walked in the 3 day and dozens of 5k’s raising money to support the organizations that supported her. Dawn looked adversity in the face and said “Fuck You” (sorry, I don’t normally swear here but those we’re her words) and she survived

She is a Fighter, she is a survivor.

Survivors are Persistent

I’ve known Pat for around 15years. She is the mother of one of my best friends and college roommates. I could not tell her story as well as her daughter did.

She is alive today because she was persistent. She knew her body, she knew something was wrong and she kept pushing until someone listened.

She is persistent, she is a survivor.

Survivors are Resilient

My mother in law is a reserved person. She doesn’t want to be a burden to anyone so she rarely opens up about personal problems or struggles. Her husband died suddenly in the early 90’s. She was left to parent two tween/teen boys by herself. Within two years of that tragedy she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her story is not mine to tell, she has kept it to herself. My husband was young and self absorbed, he knows little of her treatment or her struggles. I think that shows just how resilient she is. In what I am sure was a hard time for her she managed to allow her son to be a (somewhat rebellious) self absorbed teen that didn’t realize her world was shaking.

She is resilient, she is a survivor.

These are the survivors in my life. Not all my breast cancer stories have ended so happy. My grandma waited for treatment until it was too late. Always putting her family before herself. She may not have won her battle but she has strengthened me. She taught me the importance of taking care of myself.

Do you have survivors in your life? Link up your tribute to them at the Bigger Picture Moment at Sarah’s today. Every post linked up will get 3 chances in The Vintage Pearl Giveaway. Don't know a survivor? Head over to Sarah's and she prompts you on what else you can write about. 

1 comment:

Ginny Marie said...

I am so glad that these three women are survivors, and that you have shared a little bit of their stories with us!